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Van Den Broeck ready for battle in the Alps

According to Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) Sunday's Tour de France stage to Mozine will be "all out war". The Belgian finished in the group of GC favourites on Saturday's stage to Station Des Rousses and moved up to seventh overall, two seconds behind last year's Tour winner, Alberto Contador (Astana). However he already has one eye on tomorrow's mountaintop finish.

"Today went well," he told Cyclingnews as he warmed down on the team bus. "It was an easy day with no problems but tomorrow will be all out war."

Van Den Broeck finished 15th in Paris last year and was tipped as a potential future Tour winner. A strong showing in last month's Dauphiné cemented some of that speculation and during today's stage to Station Des Rousses he was never far from the front, sitting in second position for long stretches of the final climb.

"I'm happy with my form, but I knew that my form was good. Today was just the beginning and tomorrow will be the real mountains," he said.

However, the Belgian will try not to go on the offensive tomorrow, aware that the Pyrenees form a much greater test than the Alps. "It was an easy day today," he said confidently, "But I'll wait to attack in the Pyrenees."

In Matthew Lloyd, Van Den Broeck has a strong mountain domestique and the Australian is sure that his teammate can make a serious impression on the race over the coming two weeks. "Today we made sure Jurgen was fresh all day, especially when the speed was relatively high."

Lloyd formed part of an escape group earlier in the race but was caught and passed by the leaders on the final climb of the day. However the attacking Australian told Cyclingnews that he won't change the way he races, "It's a daily process and one of building confidence when it comes to Jurgen. But as far as racing goes it's better to have guys down the road and see what happens. I was completely nailed today when they caught me. It wasn't the easiest of stages."

Lotto team boss Marc Sargeant told Cyclingnews earlier in the week that Van Den Broeck had the potential to finish in the top five this year.

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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.